After three decades on the air, The Simpsons continues to give fans outlandish and hilarious lines from the beloved Kwik-E-Mart store owner, Apu. Season after season, this convenience store clerk delivers laughs with quippy remarks that poke fun at his own life and missteps.
Whether he’s berating customers who linger too long while simultaneously asking them to come again or ridiculing his role as a father of eight children, Apu’s sense of humor always makes fans laugh. He isn’t afraid to make fun of the ruling majority either. Here are 10 of the funniest quotes from Apu to date.
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10 “This is not a lending library.”
Time after time, customers will enter the Kwik-E-Mart and peruse the pages of the magazines on the stands. Apu does not care for lingering patrons who take up time and space without spending money. He has no problem telling them “this is not a lending library. If you’re not going to buy that thing put it down or I’ll blow your heads off!”
In one episode, he even tells Marge as she flips through a magazine if she reads one more page, she’s buying it. Not even his most loyal customers get a free pass.
9 “We’re having our best season ever.”
When the hockey team Apu coaches finds out Lisa is a great goalie, the clerk turned coach can’t help but admit, “We’re having our best season ever, and I would like to say that it is because of teamwork… gee, who am I kidding, huh? It’s all because of Lisa.”
The resignation in his delivery makes the line stand out as a moment that should seem happy, but ultimately lacks joy. Apu makes clear that winning all the time, especially because of one person, is boring.
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8 “Listen, I’ll die when I want to!”
In season 11, in an episode titled “Eight Misbehavin’,” Apu and his wife Manjula are run ragged after she gives birth to octuplets. Apu is so worn out from fatherhood to eight infants that a dream of dying is just that for him, a dream.
When he tells Manjula so, she scolds him and tells him he can’t die until the octuplets are grown and in college. In classic Apu fashion, he responds with, “listen, I’ll die when I want to!” Of course, the true humor here is that no one can choose when they die.
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7 “Hindu. There are 700 million of us.”
When Homer stops going to church in “Homer the Heretic,” his time spent at home alone on Sundays leads to disaster. The religious community bands together to convince him to return to church. But, as the reverend names his neighbors by major religions and fails to remember what Apu practices, the store clerk responds, “Hindu. There are 700 million of us.”
He is rightfully indignant at the jab from the Christian reverend. Like other Simpsons characters, Apu is not afraid to tackle a serious issue.
6 “Never have I seen you look so unhappy while purchasing such a large quantity of ice cream.”
In an episode from the season one archives, Homer makes a trip to the Kwik-E-Mart to purchase enough ice cream for family night as his sisters-in-law plan to subject him to a slideshow of their recent vacation.
Upon seeing Homer’s long face, Apu responds with this line. He states it so earnestly that the audience recognizes how absurd the image is of a man buying ice cream and being sad while doing so. It also established early on just how frequently Homer has purchased that much ice cream from Apu’s store.
5 “The hot dogs spin counterclockwise in fear when you arrive.”
Keeping with the times, The Simpsons season 23 features an episode where Homer’s antics go viral and he can’t step out in public without a disguise. As he approaches the Kwik-E-Mart incognito, Apu points him out in an instant. He knows it’s Homer because of how the convenience store food suddenly becomes sentient. The image of food having a mind of its own is funny on its own, but Apu’s matter-of-fact delivery of the line drives it home. Only Apu could accept such absurdity as fact and reality.
4 “Thank you, masked vigilante. Your overzealous homicide has saved me 80 cents.”
“Revenge is a Dish Best Served Three Times” shows Homer’s family telling him cautionary tales against getting revenge on someone, including their own take on the Batman story with Bart-Man.
In this story within a story, the Kwik-E-Mart is saved from a robbery by an overenthusiastic hero in a mask. Apu’s sarcastic statement of gratitude is punctuated by his dismissal of the vigilante if the masked man doesn’t make a purchase. The Simpson family knows Apu so well, even in their stories he won’t suffer lingering customers.
3 “I’m playing the world’s smallest sitar for you.”
When a Mother’s Day excursion goes wrong, Manjula and Apu end up wet and bedraggled at Moe’s bar. In a moment of annoyance, when his wife voices her frustration with her everyday strife, Apu comes back with, “see this? I’m playing the world’s smallest sitar for you.”
It’s a cultural twist on the common sentiment “I’m playing the world’s smallest violin for you.” It’s another example of Apu’s sarcasm and inability to see the world through another’s eyes. It also shows that the clueless husband trope transcends cultures.
2 “Ooh, they used nylon rope this time.”
During yet another convenience store hold up, Apu has this realization: “ooh, they used nylon rope this time. It feels so smooth against my skin. Almost sensuous.” This shows the audience that not only is Apu accustomed to getting robbed, but at this point, he’s learned to look on the bright side of a bad situation. His sheer joy at reveling in the feel of nylon ropes during a hold up is comedy gold. Apu’s weird optimism in a dire situation is oddly infectious.
1 “Manjula will sell this store, dye her hair blonde, and marry my cousin Jangelvar.”
When Homer asks the question: “what do you think will happen when you die?” Apu responds with no hesitation, “Manjula will sell this store, dye her hair blonde, and marry my cousin Jangelvar.” He says it with a smile on his face, as he’s taken this scenario to be fact. I
n fact, he even takes it at face value that he’ll go before his wife does. Apu’s acceptance of how life will continue once he’s gone turns an existential crisis into a moment of levity.
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